The Allman Brothers Band (2)

First post here:

Last Sunday morning, the sunshine felt like rain.
Week before, they all seemed the same.
With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
I still had two strong legs, and even wings to fly.

And oh I, ain’t wastin’ time no more
‘Cause time goes by like hurricanes, and faster things.

In March of 1971 the Allmans released their epochal At Fillmore East album. During the summer of that year they toured and built their audience, by October the album had gone gold and by the end of October, Duane Allman – too fast to live – had died in a motorcycle accident. (I saw the Allmans with Duane in July and then at their first re-appearance in New York at Carnegie Hall within weeks of Duane’s death. To say it was a drag would be an understatement).

Their next release was a partially live double album called Eat a Peach. Some thought it was named this because Duane had collided with a peach truck. Not so. In an interview, Duane had said, “And every time I’m in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace.”

Gregg’s song “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” was written in memory of his brother. Dickey – who to my knowledge had not previously played slide with the band – does a nice job here:

And just over one year later, bassist Berry Oakley was killed in a motorcycle accident as well. By all accounts he had never been the same since Duane’s death. Duane was the leader and he looked up to him as did the entire band. (Berry and Duane pictured above). Berry was a gifted bassist who – like Jack Bruce – treated the bass almost like a lead instrument but never lost sight of the fact he had to be in sync with two drummers.

So given all these radical, wholly unexpected changes there was every reason to expect the band would fold. But they didn’t. In fact their greatest triumphs lay ahead. With Duane’s death, the band become somewhat less – though by no means entirely – blues and leaned more in Dickey’s country direction.

I mentioned in the previous post that the Allmans had closed the Fillmore. “One Way Out” from Eat a Peach was recorded that night and has some great slide/lead interplay by Duane and Dickey:

Dickey wrote “Blue Sky” for his girlfriend, a Native American woman, Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig. It is one of the last songs recorded by Duane and shows the strong country influence that was seeping into the band. Joan Baez actually covered this song which is odd since there’s only a couple of verses and it is 90% guitar solos. Anyway, great song and one for which I am trying to learn Duane’s solo. See me next year:

Lastly, enjoy the only song Duane Allman ever wrote, a tasty guitar instrumental called “Little Martha.” No less a personage than Leo Kottke, guitarist extraordinaire, called it “the most perfect guitar song ever written.” The Allmans used to play the recording after the last encore while the audience was filing out.

Next – How do you replace Duane, not to mention Berry?; disarray in the band, “Brothers and Sisters” – and an uncertain future. 

2 thoughts on “The Allman Brothers Band (2)

  1. Ah, Eat a Peach! I think my first Allmans album, but i’ve always found it a difficult one to get through because of Mountain Jam in the middle. I’d listen to it much more if Mountain Jam was at the end. My philosophy is that really long tracks should always be placed at the end. Of course, I’m talking CD’s; on the original vinyl it would take up a whole side ;D

    I have the deluxe edition of Fillmore, and I’m going to buy the original album. I feel like a have a tainted version, that when I bought it, I thought it would present the original album but with some extra goodies on the side, but it completely screwed the original order 🙂
    I think all I need next is ‘Beginnings’, the album that contains their first two albums on one disc.


  2. Ordinarily I won’t do all songs from one album unless it’s specifically a post ^about* an album. But guess what? I totally spaced out that that’s what I was doing till after the post. But I think the reason I used this album here is because it’s such a transitional album. So some songs include Duane, some are about him, it contains the only song he ever wrote, etc. So it’s an end and a beginning at the same time.

    As to ‘Mountain Jam,’ yes I figure by now the Ramones heard it and said ;Enough Already.’ 😀 It does go on too long for sure. But when I’m in the mood, can’t beat it. “First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.”

    I think ‘Fillmore East’ is one of those albums they re-released in so many formats it’s hard to keep track. As I think I mentioned, I’m listening to the 6-CD re-release so I could somewhat get in the mood for these posts. Then I’ll put the Allmans on the shelf for a while. I’m so familiar with their stuff I need to put some distance between me and them. Can’t even hardly listen to ‘Statesboro’ any more.

    One more post to go for the boys and then on to something else.


Comments are closed.